‘The Vampire Diaries’ book comparison for TV series finale

Eight years of doppelgängers and deaths are coming to an end with the two-hour series finale of “The Vampire Diaries” tonight at 7 p.m.

Starring Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder, “The Vampire Diaries” was one of my favorite television shows in middle school, high school and now college. And while the vampires on the CW show have remained their eternal ages, I’ve certainly grown up with these characters.

This popular fantasy teen drama is based off a New York Times bestselling book series published by L.J. Smith in the early 1990s. Here are a few major differences within the books and TV series that are relevant for the finale.


In the series, Stefan and Damon Salvatore are prominent brothers who grew up in Virginia during the American Civil War. In the books, Stefano and Damiano were well-off Italian brothers raised during the Renaissance three centuries earlier.

A self-centered German vampire named Katherine leads to a deadly love triangle.

In the show, the brothers were shot and left for dead for protecting Katherine when it is discovered she is a vampire in 1864. In the books, the brothers fight for Katherine’s hand with swords, literally killing each other to prove their love in 1447.

When they awake as vampires, Katherine is presumed dead. The brothers hate each other and go their separate ways… until they both lay their eyes upon a modern-day girl named Elena Gilbert.


In the novels, the golden girl Elena and her doppelgänger Katherine are blond-haired beauties with frosty blue eyes. Stefan describes Elena as tiger and Katherine as a kitten. The show complexly contradicts these roles.

Elena’s younger sibling is a four-year-old named Margaret, not a teenager named Jeremy. The little girl had a critical role in helping Elena the brothers realize Katherine was back, so it’s always bothered me that she does not exist in the series. I think having a child on the show would have been a great addition to the all young adult cast.

Always feeling second-best to the manipulative Elena, Caroline is not her friend in the books, but rather Elena’s arch rival for high school popularity and Stefan’s love. Elena’s best friend Bonnie is a petite, red-headed witch who always ends up getting into dangerous situations that test the limits of her magical powers.

The two screen characters that are most like their print roles are Stefan and Matt. Stefan is a  mysterious, noble gentleman who struggles with guilt from his past. Matt, the All-American quarterback, is a loyal human friend who does what he can to protect Elena in their small town of Fells Church (not Mystic Falls).

Damon’s vengeful character in the books always remains an unapologetic jerk of a big brother to Stefan, despises Mutt (he doesn’t call him Matt), feels the need to protect the naïve Bonnie and makes lustful advances at Elena. Instead, the show portrays a sexy charmer with sarcastic jokes and a passionate heart.


The show has done a great job of revamping (pun intended) Klaus’ role as an antagonistic Original vampire before the spin-off series, highlighting Damon’s emotions about the cure for vampirism, creating visual depths of supernatural purgatories and crafting intense plotlines for each character.

Based on the previews for the finale, Katherine will make a return for an epic show down, just as she does in the books. Katherine brought the brothers into darkness, but Elena will be their light.

As her diary shares, Elena does love both brothers at different times in different ways. In the end, the name Salvatore is Italian for savior, and the vampire brothers will have one more chance to fight for the one they love.